Story time

I like to think I’m pretty good at telling stories. I have a good sense of timing and rhythm and can make something slightly amusing into a must-tell party anecdote. It’s one of the reasons I like blogging so much, because I get a chance to tell so many stories and really take my time writing them up in the most entertaining way possible.

In high school, I had a friend named Matt who was eightybazillionty times better than I will ever be at telling stories. He could make anything funny, and even after retelling the same story over and over and over he could still have us rolling on the floor laughing over that one time he walked into the wrong hotel room and yelled at a total stranger. Or the time he was canoeing with the Boy Scouts and the younger kids ran their canoe into a dead cow that was floating in the river.

I swear, when Matt told it, the cow story was the FUNNIEST STORY EVER. And he told it so many times I could have (and did) repeat it word for word. But I’ve forgotten most of the context and all the funny parts. Now it just sounds sad and kind of gross. It seems I’ve forgotten tons of those anecdotes over the years, stuff I thought I could never lose from my brain, the same way I thought writing “Today C and I met J at the ice rink, but SHE was there and made me mad” in my diary would still mean as much to me today as it did in 1995.

So in the interest of never forgetting, today I’m going to share two stories: one that happened a long time ago but is still one of my favorites (although it’s truly much funnier in person) and one that just happened recently but is too good not to be immediately added to my collection.

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Although I didn’t exactly go to a Serious College, I at least picked one that didn’t make my guidance councilor cringe. And although I didn’t exactly take College Seriously I was proud to graduate in the standard 4 year/8 semester time frame without ever getting into trouble that involved police involvement or parental notification.

It was finally the week of graduation and I was attending mandatory ceremony rehearsal. My school graduated everyone together, all walking one huge stage, in a beautiful outdoor extravaganza that hasn’t changed at all since the school was founded in 1770. Except for in 1905 when they started allowing in women. Or 62 years later when they integrated (South Carolina is not the most progressive state, y’all). The women wear white sundresses and carry red roses and the men wear formal white dinner jackets and red boutonnieres.

It’s very, very Southern.

Somehow, thanks to pure luck, a major in the most common concentration at the college (Communications, WHOOOP!) and a last name that started with a “G”, I ended up sitting in the very front row. Since the stage is raised above the audience I was in pretty much the only seat that made my parent’s presence worthwhile – every student in rows 2-infinity was invisible until the moment their name was called to walk. It also meant I had to sit like a Lady in my skirt and pretend to be interested in the most boring 90 minutes of speeches EVER.

Towards the end of the mandatory rehearsal, the head of campus security got up to make a few announcements about the behavior he expected from us as Ladies and Gentlemen of a Certain Quality. We were not allowed to make spectacles of ourselves during graduation. We were not allowed to make condom balloons. We were not allowed to show up late. We were not allowed to show up DRUNK.

“Because,” he said in his most serious rent-a-cop voice,”If you show up intoxicated, I WILL be arresting you and I WILL take you to jail. You’ll be happy to know the Charleston County lock-up serves Rice Krispies for breakfast.”

The girl sitting next to me rolled her eyes. “That is so not true!” she scoffed. “I’ve been to jail TWICE and all I got was toast!”

During the ceremony later that week I made her wave to my parents. I wanted them to see how worthwhile that education they just finished paying for was.

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In case you’re new here (or you forgot), my friend Erin got married a couple weeks ago and I was one of her bridesmaids. Erin was actually one of MY bridesmaids back in prehistoric times when E and I got married, which I thought was really special. I also thought it gave me the right to be Mrs. Bossy McBossypants when it came to offering advice, whether it was asked for or not.

At the rehearsal, as we practiced lining up and walking (two things everyone learned in kindergarten but requires 2 hours of practice before all wedding ceremonies), someone mentioned that after the ring-bearer brought down the pillow he needed to give it to the best man, who would in turn put it on a little table, because when it came time for the exchange of rings they needed to be available.

“Oooooh” I said doubtfully, “You’re putting your REAL rings on the pillow? Maybe you should use fake rings. We used fake rings, like from a gumball machine. I mean, I’m not saying your ring-bearer {who was at least 12 and not at all irresponsible} can’t be trusted but those rings are important.”

I was assured the rings were fine on the pillow.

“Well. Ok. If you say so. Although I don’t think anyone would NOTICE the fake rings and then your best man dosn’t have to worry about untying them or anything but if you want to do it your way that’s good too. I’m sure it will be fine.” I was really annoying about it. I think I followed up my comments with a story or two about lost rings at various weddings, although they might have been stories I read on the internet rather than anything that happened to anyone I know.

“And just so you know,” I jokingly added, “I’m wearing my wedding rings today for the first time in like a zillion years so if it comes to it, you can always borrow mine.”

Fast forward to the ceremony and the moment when the minister asks for the rings. The best man grabs the pillow, unties the groom’s ring…and starts to look panicked. He glances at the ground. He turns over the pillow. The minister says “Do we have the rings?”

15 incredibly long seconds tick by while everyone stares at the ground uselessly.

The bride snaps around and whispers “Give me your ring!”  I hand my bouquet to the bridemaid behind me, yank my diamond band off my fat swollen finger, and pass it to her before anyone even notices.

Erin hands the ring to the minister, everyone thinks the crisis has been averted, Elliot puts my wedding ring on Erin’s hand and they are declared husband and wife. And lived happily ever after.

Personally, I think using my ring means I’M married to Erin. Or maybe E is married to Erin? Or we’re all four married to each other? I am fine with any of the above scenarios. And if you had to use someone else’s ring for your wedding ceremony, I ring that’s brought 6 successful years of marriage and 2 babies to the original user isn’t your WORST choice, right?

P.S. I did not say “I told you so” or anything similar to “I told you so”. Although several people said it for me.

P.P.S. It turns out the ring-bearer didn’t lose the ring at all – it was still tied to the pillow, just tucked under a ribbon. The best man just couldn’t find it and once he started to freak and assume it was lost no one thought to double check the pillow. So the person we should have been worried about messing up is the Englishman who had been drinking constantly for the previous week. Shocking.

What’s your favorite personal story?

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9 Responses to “Story time”

  1. sarrible says:

    I think the problem was that the rabbi was blind. Either way, poor Adam. He’s never going to hear the end of that.

  2. Other Erin says:

    No. Never. And that’s just the way we like it.

  3. Amanda says:

    Not my personal funny story but at a cousin of mine’s wedding the reverend? minister? whoever dropped communion down the front of her dress. Of course that left the awkward moment of “hmm do I go diving down in there for that?” I am assuming the bride, groom and reverend were all thinking the same thing. The bride fished it out herself and the video ended up on America’s Funniest Home Videos. They didn’t win though. Bummer.

  4. raincheckmom says:

    I was in my twenties and living in a garage apartment when the owners of the house asked if I would dog sit for their Irish Wolfhound named Guinness. He was a really gentle soul so I said “of course”. Now, Guinness was a pretty big dog and I was about 100 pounds soaking wet. So the time came to walk him and I could not find the leash. I borrowed one from my folks. They used it to walk their Cairn Terrier who probably weighed 15 pounds max. So we headed down the street and Guinness spied another dog and took off flying. I had a brief moment of what I thought was genius and decided to brace myself against the bushes to prevent the dog from running off. I ended up face down after being dragged THROUGH the bushes, with the broken leash in my hand. The kindly neighbors picked me up, found the dog and helped me home. Only scratches and no broken bones – so I was lucky. What made me think I could stop that dog is a mystery…but I chuckle at the thought of the neighbors watching me try!!!

  5. Lisa says:

    Whenever the conversation turns to animals on the road or roadkill or running into things with your car (which might happen more in my sphere than average since I’m a wildlife biologist), I mention casually that I once hit a moose. It always gets double takes, especially because I haven’t lived in moose country since the summer when the incident happened, and I get to tell my story to a rapt audience. I was the designated driver when some coworkers and I were heading back from a bar in Maine. Suddenly a giant bull moose ran out in front of the car. I slammed on the brakes, and managed to just knick his hind leg. There was a dent in the bumper and a bulge in the hood, and a bit of moose hair, but that was the only damage. The moose, amazingly, walked away. We were lucky because the moose’s legs came up to the top of the hood, so we could have easily had a moose in our laps. I don’t think we ever drove that road at night again, though. I try to tell the story with as much suspense as I can muster.

    • Meagan says:

      Wowie. You were very lucky.

      ***SKIP THIS IF YOU GET QUEASY EASILY***

      My only animal story is when I was standing at a bus stop & saw a car run over a field mouse in the road. The body flew about 4 feet in the air, doing multiple flips before landing in the road, dead. Poor little mouse. :(

      Sorry if I’ve grossed anyone out.

  6. I can’t believe that’s the first that I’m hearing this ring story!!!

  7. E says:

    So, let me tell you about these 2 dogs that my dad’s friend had……
    Sorry but i have to post that sentence. And I also realize that it is impolite to post inside jokes, but I don’t care.

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